Murrell Brown

Mr. Murell C. Brown of Marshall, TX peacefully went to be with Jesus on Friday morning June 26, 2020, passing away at home, at the age of 82. He was born at home to Loyd Brown and Leola Cason Brown in Coushatta, LA on December 15, 1937. Growing up on the family farm south of Coushatta, Murell developed a strong work ethic.

Murell graduated from Martin High School in Martin, LA in the Class of 1955. He grew up with a love for playing basketball and played on his high school basketball team for four years.

After graduation, he moved to Shreveport to attend Centenary College. While at Centenary, he worked for his cousins at Brown Brothers Hardware while also working at Bob’s Esso gas station. From there, he entered the wholesale electronics parts business working for several local companies and working his way up to an outside sales position.

In February of 1963 at the age of 25, Murell established B & S Electronics with business partner Leon Southern. Within a few years, the business became one of the leading wholesale electronics parts houses in the Ark-La-Tex, selling all types of television parts, outdoor television antennas, etc.

In 1972, he started American Electronics becoming one of the leading wholesale distributors in the nation for Sylvania color televisions and Craig car stereos. In 1974, he bought out his business partner and combined the two business under the American Electronics name. In 1976, he purchased Dunkleman Distributing which was his entry into the wholesale appliance distribution business. He renamed the business Brown Distributing Company and it became one of the leading Kevinator, Tappan  and Sharp microwave oven wholesale appliance distribution operations in the nation.

Also in 1976, Murell established a branch of American Electronics in Longview, TX, selling a wide variety of television parts and associated accessories throughout Eastern Texas. In 1979, he established a branch of Brown Distributing in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1982, he formed Brown Sales Company (with his son Randy) representing a multitude of appliance and electronics manufacturers in several states.

In 1986, he entered the wholesale distribution business again by establishing BSM Distributing as a subsidiary of Brown Sales Company. In 1989, Murell and his wife Bonnie moved to Marshall, TX to be in between business operations in Shreveport and Longview. And in 1992, he entered the furniture manufacturing business establishing Gray Court Furniture Manufacturing as a subsidiary of BSM Distributing.     

Retiring in 2000, Murell entered the real estate business in 2006. He enjoyed over 12 years of fun and success in real estate sales in the Marshall, TX area.

No matter his business accomplishments and positions, Murell never lost his love for sales. He was a people person.

He loved his family, he loved his friends and he loved his customers. And, all of them loved him. It was often said by so many of his customers that “he could sell ice to the eskimos.” Because he had so many people give him a chance in the business world, he made it his mission to help countless young people get started in their business careers. And, so many of these individuals have gone on to successful careers and to start businesses of their own.

Murell’s business career and sales performance awards took he and his family on trips around the world. Murell met his sweetheart/soulmate for life (Bonnie White) in 1959 while on a sales call in Minden, LA. This beautiful love affair lasted for over 60 years. They shared a special bond that many people do not get to experience in life, as they were madly in love for over 60 years. A lifetime is not long enough for true love. They loved their son Randy with all of their hearts and have given him a wonderful life.

Murell loved his church (First Methodist – Marshall) serving on the Board of Trustees and for many years as an usher. Over the last 10 years, he dedicated himself to reading his Bible each and every day, reading it all the way through at least 15 times during this period of time. He had too many favorite Bible verses to list. He so often told his family and friends that he knew where he was going when he left this earth and he would be waiting on them to get there.

Murell loved the LSU Tigers. He intently followed anything LSU in all sports, especially football. He was also an avid New Orleans Saints fan.

Murell was preceded in death by his parents; infant son, Lawrence Wayne Brown; infant daughter, Cynthia Lynn Brown; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Audrey and Beulah White and sisters-in-law: Freda Sikes, Dianne McFarland and Judy Warren.

He is survived by his loving wife, Bonnie White Brown; son, Randall E. “Randy” Brown; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Ron and Dr. Helen Sikes and also many beloved nieces, nephews and very close cousins. 

Honorary pallbearers are: “The Lucky Charm Gang” Friday lunch group (Richard Ellis, Mike Richard, Jon Richard, Bill Sullivan, Bill Palmer and Harold Raines), Greg Sikes, Richie Arnold, Jimmy Snead, Tom Lewis, Bobby Moorehead, Jarvis Poche, Aaron Cross, Rick Smart, Allen Cariker, Ed Perkins, Jude Prest, Tim Robinson, Mark Robinson, Glenn Thames, David Dodson, Chuck Haberthur and all former employees. 

Burial will be at Union Hall Baptist Church Cemetery in Coushatta, LA. A memorial service led by Dr. Pat Day (First United Methodist – Shreveport, LA) and Pastor Mike Richard (First Assembly of God – Marshall, TX) will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 2, 2020 at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home in Coushatta, LA. A Gathering of Family and Friends will be held on Friday, July 3, 2020 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Sullivan Funeral Home in Marshall, TX. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the family requests that masks be worn, and precautions followed by those who are at risk.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to: Union Hall Baptist Church (Coushatta, LA), First Assembly of God (Marshall, TX) or Society of St. Stephens at First United Methodist Church (Marshall, TX).

Mr. Donald Cornelious Turner

November 11, 1973 ~ June 15, 2020 (age 46)


Service were held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, June 27, 2020 at Deliverance Temple Church, Coushatta, La.  Interment will be 10 a.m., Monday, June 29, 2020 at Northwest La. Veteran Cemetery.

Arrangements by Heavenly Gates Funeral Home

If You Give a Girl a Margarita

By Reba Phelps

One of my favorite books to read to my girls when they were younger was, “If you give a mouse a cookie.” Thanks to semi-annual Scholastic Book Fairs, grandparents with extra cash, and book hoarding daughters, the collection quickly grew to include all of the books in this series.  

To be honest, I am fairly certain that I enjoyed this circular tale more than my children did. It tells the story of what happens when you give a mouse a cookie. He will then need milk. He will need   a straw. He will need a mirror to keep the milk mustache away. You see where this is going. It offered hours and hours of giggles. It was a far-fetched tale but oh so entertaining. 

This is the only analogy that I can use to compare my love for margaritas and my personal choice to limit my intake of them. 

If you give a girl a margarita, she cannot drink just one. They are an economical choice when they marketed as two for one. Why would I order a margarita and not drink its mate that is actually free? Two by two…Just like the animals who entered the ark in pairs, they belong together.

If you give a girl a margarita, she will not want the second one to go to waste. Dave Ramsey would be so disappointed if she was wasteful. His envelope system clearly covers all of the categories where a margarita could be included. Restaurants. Personal. Entertainment. Gifts. Yes, margaritas are a gift. 

He totally wants us to enjoy that second margarita. 

If you give a girl a margarita it will cause her to lose her dietary inhibitions. The chips and salsa become calorie-fee and there is always an endless supply. When the margaritas kick in and start doing what too many margaritas do…Multitudes of calories are consumed, and they are typically shaped like tacos and tamales. 

If you give a girl three margaritas it may as well be four. Two by two, see above. They should be consumed in pairs. Unless you are consuming the twenty-dollar margaritas at a popular place in Shreveport…then it’s only one and not purchased in pairs or fours. 

If you give a girl four margaritas then surely she will lose her ability to make good decisions and will need a ride home. The drinks will also cause a girl to get louder and possibly annoying to those around her. These four drinks on a Saturday night will make the face puffy and the crow’s feet deep. So, you might as well skip Sunday morning worship all together. 

You can see how my single and innocent margarita can quickly turn into a whole weekend of bad decisions and skipping time with the Lord.  Am I blaming alcohol? No, I am blaming my weakness and not knowing when to stop. I really truly believe in my own soul that God does not frown upon the consumption and moderation of alcohol. 

I just had problems with the moderation part. 

This is where my Catholic, Non-denominational, and Baptist roots would all collide. Having a diverse spiritual background does cause you a certain amount of angst and can create the perfect cocktail of guilt for many different reasons. Do I drink or not drink? Do I eat meat on Fridays during Lenten Season or not?  

All of the rules just seemed so burdensome, especially when there are so many to follow. I came to a point where I had to start fully trusting the words I was reading in the Bible for myself. Trying to be perfect and holy is a full-time job with no overtime pay. 

Since my commitment to have a better relationship with Christ, it was not a tough decision to make to greatly reduce the amount of lime juice, Tequila and Triple Sec that was allowed in my diet. I was consuming the massive amounts for all of the wrong reasons. I used it as a way to forget my troubles and enjoy the moment. I did not want to think about what tomorrow held. 

The more I fall in love with our maker, I know that he holds our tomorrow, he orders our steps and he equips us with every single thing we need to make it through the day.  

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Riverdale to Open in August

On Thursday afternoon, the school posted “Riverdale Academy plans to begin school, as planned, on August 7, 2020. We intend to follow our normal daily schedule.

“We are confident that we will be able to maintain a safe, healthy environment for the Riverdale family as we take precautions and implement procedures as prescribed in the document released by the Louisiana Department of Education on June 25, 2020.

“If you are interested in enrolling your child, please contact the school at (318) 932-5876. You may also email or

The public school system has not announced plans for opening this fall.  At the last board meeting three scenarios were presented, depending upon the phase of reopening the state would be in later this summer.  Summer school was scheduled to begin on July 6th if the state had moved to Phase Three, which did not happen.

The School Board will meet Monday at 2:00 pm.  Further plans for school opening will probably be discussed at that meeting.

Edwards Makes It Official

Governor John Bel Edwards formally extended Phase Two of reopening in Louisiana for another 28 days, as new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase across the state. The new order leaves in place occupancy and other restrictions of the previous Phase Two order and adds a crowd size limit of 250 to indoor gatherings.

“We have watched with concern as cases continue to rise in Louisiana, which is why we are pausing the state in Phase Two for now. Data from the last three days makes it crystal clear that Louisiana is not ready to move to Phase Three just yet,” Gov. Edwards said. “Our plan is to watch the daily trends and then to do another deep dive into the data in 14 days to determine if things are improving or getting worse, so we can make a plan for our future. None of us wants to go back to a time of greater restrictions, which is why it is incredibly important that all Louisianans take the necessary mitigation measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state, including wearing cloth masks or face coverings when they are in public, staying home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms, keeping six feet of social distance and washing their hands frequently.”

“Some in Louisiana may be done with COVID, but I promise you that COVID is not yet done with Louisiana,” Gov. Edwards said. “I especially want to call on the young people of our state, those ages 18 to 29, to take this illness seriously. This is the age group with the largest numbers of new cases and while you may think you are invincible; you are not. Moreover, you should make sure you don’t spread the illness to others, especially those most vulnerable to it.”

Red River COVID-19 Update

One more case of the COVID-19 virus has been confirmed in Red River Parish by the Louisiana Department of Health.  There are now 54 cases, up one from 53 on Tuesday.

There have been no additional fatalities in the parish.  There have been 8 deaths attributed to the virus.

The latest health department report on nursing homes and adult care facilities shows that Green Meadow Haven remains clear.  There have been no cases among residents and the staff at the home.

A reminder that free tests for the virus will be offered July 7th through 10th at the Coushatta Community Center.

Governor Cancels Clara Springs Summer Camps

This week Governor John Bel Edwards extended the Phase Two reopening of the state for 28 more days.  That in effect cancelled summer camp programs planned by nearby Clara Springs Camp.  All other overnight camps were cancelled at the same time.

Bubba and Mandi Mills immediately expressed their disappointment and a look forward on a video posted for all campers and their families.  Bubba Mills said he talked with the State Fire Marshall and this summer overnight camps are not going to happen.  He said the Louisiana Department of Health is not recommending campers stay overnight for health and safety reasons.

Mandi Mills said, “So this year camp just won’t happen.  We wanted you to see our heart, and this was not an easy decision but was forced on us.”  Bubba Mills added, “When we heard the Governor’s news conference we knew we would not be able to hold the camps.”

That may not be the end of it.  Mills said, “It does not stop our ministry.  This opens new windows for us to reach out.  We’re going to do that.  We love to do that.”

Tonight (June 26th) is the 4th Friday Fish Fry.  Mandi Mills said it would be drive up for fish dinners or people could eat on the campgrounds.  On Saturday (June 27th) it will be “Farm & Fam Day” at Clara Springs.  Bubba Mills said over 40 vendors had been scheduled for the event plus there will be an auction and other family activities.

Local Students Take Part in 4-H U

This week members of the Red River 4-H Clubs took part in the annual 4-H University.  However they did it from the local 4-H office.  4-H U went virtual because of the COVID-19 virus. 

Here are a couple of pictures of the participants.  Bryce Hunt competed in the Insect ID contest. He was the last contestant to compete.

Elliot and Ellis Grant did a great job calling the football game in the sports broadcasting contest for 4-h U.  4-H Agent Jacque Fontenot said, “They did a good job.  They still have a lot to learn but they really improved even from Friday.  They didn’t have any down time at all, and the coach complimented them on their knowledge of football.  I’m proud of them and I hope they try again next year.  Rafe Suggs wants to do this contest with someone next year, also.  We can have two or three teams.”

Addison Bounds shows off her AMAZING talent in the “4-H Has Talent” contest during 4-H University this week.  Addison’s video is at the end of this article.

Tech Offers New Technology Certificate

Certificate in Information Assurance and Cyber Security Management Introduced at Louisiana Tech

RUSTON, La. – Louisiana Tech University’s College of Business is now accepting applications for a newly developed undergraduate certificate in information assurance and cyber security management. Designed to enhance the degree for students pursuing a computer-related major, this certificate is also an attractive add-on for those looking to enter the cyber workforce.

This 18-hour certificate helps students develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to excel in positions in information systems and network security—one of the fastest growing industries in Louisiana.  

“Our new undergraduate certificate is one more way we are working to adapt curriculum to the needs of industry partners and an ever-changing workforce,” said Dr. Chris Martin, dean of the College of Business. “Students pursuing this certificate—and all students in the College of Business—will possess both technological agility and the ability to leverage technology in business to its fullest.”

Students will learn to protect systems and information assets, and to detect, report, and resolve cyber security threats. Additionally, coursework will prepare students to perform information systems risk analysis, along with information systems disaster recovery and business continuity.

Designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and Research, Louisiana Tech’s computer information systems curriculum encompasses cybersecurity, project management, telecom, enterprise systems, data analytics and programming. CIS lies at the intersection of business and technology.

In addition to the undergraduate certificate in information assurance and cyber security management, the College of Business offers several degree options in the field of computer information systems:

  • Bachelor of Science in CIS
  • 2+2 Transfer Pathway Program in CIS
  • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance
  • MBA with a concentration in Information Assurance (including Hybrid delivery method)
  • Doctor of Business Administration with a concentration in CIS

Courses in the certificate program will begin this Fall. Interested students should complete an undergraduate admissions application at For more information, visit

About the College of Business
Through market-driven academic programs and impactful scholarship and teaching, the College of Business at Louisiana Tech University produces business and academic leaders who are innovative, entrepreneurial, analytical, and technologically skilled for a competitive global marketplace. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the College offers eight undergraduate degree programs in addition to the master of business administration, master of professional accountancy and doctor of business administration. For more information, visit

Preschool Registration Open Now! Limited Spaces Available

From Head Start Director Christy Suggs                  

Parents wishing to enroll their children in Red River Parish Schools’  Early Childhood programs may come to the Red River Elementary School Monday-Thursday from 8-2:30. Forms may be downloaded from 

Please bring the following information to register:

Birth Certificate, Social Security Card,

Up to Date Immunization Record for School,

Proof of Residence (bill with your name & physical address),

Photo Identification, and

Proof of Income for 2 consecutive pay periods for all adults in the household.

If your child attended RRES Head Start during 2019-20, Birth Certificate and Social Security Card are on file. New enrollment forms are needed along with the other items listed above.

If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment please call Mrs. Clark, Ms. Cato, Ms. Williams or Mrs. Suggs at RRES 932-9290. Registration does not guarantee enrollment in a preschool class. All information and forms must be provided before a child is considered registered.

We look forward to having you become part of the Bulldog Family.

Coushatta Resident Named to Natchitoches Levee District

On Wednesday, Governor John Bel Edwards released a list of numerous appointments he was making to various Boards and Commissions.  One Coushatta man is on that list.

Jolley C. Nash was appointed to the Natchitoches Levee and Drainage District.  Nash is a farmer and owner of the Nash Cattle Company.  Nash and one other person were appointed to the district, others were reappointments.

Here is the complete list of appointees to the district:

Natchitoches Levee and Drainage District
The mission of the Natchitoches Levee and Drainage District mission is to protect and to provide maintenance for the levees and drainage ditches within the Parish of Natchitoches. 

Mary R. Jones of Natchitoches has been appointed to the Natchitoches Levee and Drainage District. Jones is the assistant director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness for the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Office. 

Lewis C. “Casey” Messenger of Natchitoches has been reappointed to the Natchitoches Levee and Drainage District. Messenger is a member of 4m Farms. 

Kenneth K. “Karlton” Methvin of Natchitoches has been reappointed to the Natchitoches Levee and Drainage District. Methvin is a farmer in Natchitoches. 

Jolley C. Nash of Coushatta has been appointed to the Natchitoches Levee and Drainage District. Nash is a farmer in Coushatta. Nash is the owner of the Nash Cattle Company. 

Terry G. Sklar of Natchitoches has been reappointed to the Natchitoches Levee and Drainage District. Sklar is the president of SFC Contract Services. 

Rayburn L. Smith of Natchitoches has been reappointed to the Natchitoches Levee and Drainage District. Smith is the manager at Smith Cattle Farm. 

Mark C. Swafford Sr. has been reappointed to the Natchitoches Levee and Drainage District. Swafford is retired. 

Sahara Dust Storm Over Louisiana

The National Weather Service office in Shreveport reported the Saharan Air Layer will move over our area through the weekend. This dust layer originated in West Africa.

It can suppress rainfall amounts and also hurricanes. It also can lead to amazing sunsets. For more visit:

Bulldog Workout Safety

Red River Athletics has posted this notice to all athletes:
Phase 2 has been extended for 28 days by Governor Edwards. We will continue following our current guidelines.

We have done a good job so far, but parents/guardians and students must continue to:

  1. Temperature and Symptom Check will be done outside the buildings at the drop off area in the parking lot.
  2. Students cannot be dropped off and left until a coach/sponsor has cleared them.
    *Please do not go into the main building. Students should be dropped off in the visitor parking lot when a coach/Sponsor tells them to exit the vehicle.

*No students should enter main building and do not use employee parking lot.

* If students are late, then they need to text a coach to come meet them in the visitor parking lot to do the temperature and symptom check.

Students need to continue to bring their own water and towel. 

We appreciate you helping us work through this unprecedented time.

Elementary School Has New Website

RRES Launched a new website Wednesday, June 24th.

Red River Elementary School Assistant Principal Megan Picou has created a new website for RRES. The new site may be found at

The website said, “We encourage elementary parents and students to view the page often for important information concerning the upcoming school year.”

ETC… for Friday, June 26th

Today is the fourth Friday in July and that means fish dinners tonight at Clara Springs Camp.  Service begins at 5:00 pm.  Dinners are packed to take home or find a spot on the campgrounds to picnic.

The School Board will hold the June meeting on Monday, June 29th.  They meet at 2:00 pm at the Administration Building on Alonzo Street.

The Red River Parish Police Jury is scheduled to meet Wednesday morning at 10:00 am.  The meeting will be held on the third floor of the courthouse.

Early voting is going on through July 4th.  Any day but Sunday you may vote at the Registrar of Voters Office in the courthouse 8:30 am until 6:00 pm.

Farm and Fam Day will be held Saturday at Clara Springs Camp from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm.  There will be crafts vendors as well as food vendors.  And there will be an auction.

Dorothy White Lindsey

O what a glorious day! Heaven is celebrating the precious reunion of Dot and W.B. Lindsey, united again in the presence of Christ.

A service to celebrate the life of Dorothy White Lindsey will be held at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home on Saturday, June 27, 2020. Visitation will be at 1:00 PM with services beginning at 2:00 PM. Reverend Tommy Rush will officiate. A graveside service will follow at Liberty Baptist Cemetery in Martin, Louisiana.

Dorothy was born February 16, 1926 to Jesse Lawrence White and Lucille Rawls White in Red River Parish, Louisiana. She was a loving wife and mother and a wonderful grandmother and friend.

Dorothy grew up on the family farm in the Martin Community near Coushatta, Louisiana. She loved working and playing outdoors, preferring to hoe and pick cotton rather than sweeping floors and washing dishes. Her favorite pastime was clearing vines and undergrowth out of the woods and burning them with her sister. Give her a “burn pile,” and she was content.

Mrs. Dot was an accomplished seamstress and sewed most of the clothing she and her girls wore. She loved every kind of needlework, but especially quilting. Mom loved Jesus and her church. She was an active member of First Baptist Church, Natchitoches for over seventy years, and was faithful in attendance until the last few years when health rendered attendance impossible.

She was well-known and well-loved wherever she went, and was always available to friends and family in times of need. She was beloved for her delicious coconut cake that often found its way to the kitchens of local friends.

Dorothy is preceded in death by her husband, Wilder Bloomer Lindsey, her parents Jessie Lawrence White and Lucille Rawls White, brother Wiley Gahagan White, sister Junetta Laverne White Abraham, one grandson Alex Lindsey Gruber, and one great grandson JLB LaBenz.

Dorothy is survived by her three daughters, Wilder Lane Book and husband Don of Natchitoches, LA, Patricia Ann Gruber and husband Max of Anthem, AZ, and Ginger Lindsey Picone of Houston, TX; eight grandchildren, Troy Neil Book and wife Teri, Eric Lindsey Book and wife Kelley, Gregory Ward Book and wife Dawn, Tara Book Koehler and husband Shane, Anna Gruber LaBenz and husband Mike, Lisa Gruber Jones and husband Dustin, James Wilder Picone, Leslie Allison Picone, eighteen great grandchildren, nine great-great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Those honored to serve as pallbearers include grandsons Troy Book, Eric Book, Greg Book, Jimmy Picone, and great grandsons.

Dorothy’s grateful family would like to thank Natchitoches Assisted Living, Hospice of Natchitoches, and the caregivers who faithfully served our mother. Amanda Fantroy, Jessie Benjamin, Martha Crain, and Jacqueline Smith, thank you for loving our mother and walking this road with us.

Memorials in Dorothy’s name may be made to First Baptist Church of Natchitoches, 508 Second Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457; Liberty Baptist Cemetery, 425 Liberty Church Road, Coushatta, LA 71019; to; or to the charity of your choice.

Ring Ceremony

By Moly Seales

On Saturday, June 20, 2020, Riverdale Academy held its annual ring ceremony for the upcoming seniors at First Baptist Church Coushatta.  Many things about this ring ceremony were different due to COVID 19, including that it wasn’t the day after graduation like usual.  Despite all the complications, the junior class sponsor Mrs. Kelly Azlin, along with parents and students of the class of 2021 worked hard to make sure that this class could officially become seniors. 

The ceremony started with Mrs. Kelly welcoming everyone. Following the welcome, the new principal of Riverdale, Mr. Danny Rester, opened in prayer.  Mrs. Kelly then presented the junior class. Unfortunately, four members of the class were unable to attend but were not forgotten as Mrs. Kelly mentioned their names. These students were Witt Almond, Ronda Black, Austin Giddens, and Garrett Wilhite.  Then it was finally time for the much-anticipated ring presentations.

Tylee Adams was the first student to receive her ring, which was presented to her by her parents Tye and Amanda Adams.  Next was Parker Almond, whose ring was presented to him by his parents Will and Heather Almond. Brennan Edie’s grandparents Gene and Karen Dixon presented him with his ring. Abby Jones was presented her ring by her sister and 2017 graduate of Riverdale Academy, Sidney Jones.  Pacey Lindsey was next and received her ring from her parents John and Christie Lindsey.  Tinley Ogden’s mother and step-father Jamie and Stephen McCoy presented her with her ring.  Matthew Seales was presented his ring by his sister and current sophomore at Riverdale Academy, Molly Seales.  Next was Jake Wilhite, who was presented his ring by his father Rex Wilhite.  Lastly was Noah Wren, who was presented his ring by his parents Kyle and Heather Wren, along with his nephew Konner Tate.  As the students were presented their rings, Mrs. Kelly named some of the students’ achievements in sports and academics and their favorite memories so far at Riverdale.

After the presentations there was a slideshow of all the students, which included pictures beginning in their childhood and ending with pictures of their junior year of school.  There was laughter from the students as it brought back some old memories. When the slideshow was over, Mrs. Kelly asked the class to stand, and the future Riverdale Academy Class of 2021 was officially presented as the new senior class.

Following the ceremony there were refreshments and a reception for the students, parents, family, and friends.  The Riverdale Class of 2021 would like to thank Mrs. Kelly for being their sponsor and for all of her hard work and their family and friends for all of their support over the years.


Phase Two Will Continue

Monday Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana will stay in Phase Two of reopening, as the number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations have started to rise in several regions across the state. The Governor will extend his Phase Two order for another 28 days, keeping in place occupancy limits and other restrictions.

As of Monday, Louisiana ranks seventh out of 23 states across the country experiencing an increase in COVID-19 positive cases. Those include the neighboring states of Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

“Louisiana reached two sad milestones today as we surpassed 3,000 deaths and 50,000 positive tests in our state. Each of these Louisianans is someone’s child, sibling, parent or friend, and we mourn every one of these losses,” Gov. Edwards said. “It is clear that COVID is alive and well in Louisiana, and as we see more people testing positive and admitted to hospitals, we simply are not ready to move to the next phase, and ease restrictions further as businesses open widely. Many of you are doing the right thing and I thank you for it. It’s incredibly disappointing to hear that there are still some people who refuse to wear masks in public, which puts all of us at greater risk of becoming sick. I implore Louisianans to be good neighbors, to stay at home when they are experiencing symptoms, to avoid crowds, physically distance, and to wear a mask when not around their immediate household whether inside or outside. These are simple things we can do to protect ourselves and each other.”

“While we know that increasing testing means that we will see more positive cases, we are still troubled by the rising case counts across the state, especially since around 90 percent of these new cases are coming from the community and not from congregate settings like nursing homes,” Gov. Edwards said. “It is up to all of us to check our own behaviors and to take responsibility for slowing the spread of COVID. We do not want to have to go back to a time of increased restrictions where fewer businesses could operate. It is my hope that all of us – from government officials to business owners to students – will do the right thing.”

The Governor emphasized that Louisianans should wear face masks whenever they are in public, practice social distancing, wash their hands frequently and avoid going out in public when they are experiencing any symptoms.

Red River Doesn’t Have Strong Upswing in COVID-19 Cases

The strong upswing in the number of COVID-19 cases across Louisiana is not affecting Red River Parish as the rest of the state.  Latest figures from the Louisiana Department of Health show Red River has had 53 confirmed cases with 8 deaths attributed to the virus. There have been 706 total tests performed.

These figures may increase after the first week of July.  That is when there will be free testing for the virus in the parish. 

On Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Health reports 1,356 COVID-19 cases reported to the state since Monday, bringing the total to 51,595 cases. Louisiana had the third largest single-week increase in cases last week, beaten only by the first two weeks of April during the upswing. 

The vast majority (95%) of Tuesday’s increase in case growth is tied to community spread rather than congregate settings like nursing homes. 

In terms of timeline, the specimen collection date of 97% of these cases ranges from June 15 to June 23, i.e., the big increase is not tied to a backlog. 

The percent positivity of test results reported to the state is 7.6%; the federal goal is to keep this figure below 10%. 

Unfortunately, LDH also reports an additional 17 COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state’s total to 3,021 deaths since the start of the pandemic. 

“We are quite concerned by the COVID-19 numbers and the overall direction we are moving in,” said Dr. Alex Billioux, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public Health. “What we are seeing appears to be connected to increased movement, a lot of which is probably related to further reopening of the economy and at least some individuals not adhering to recommended precautions. We are seeing significant COVID-19 spread related to people congregating in groups with little to no social distancing or masking. The largest increase in cases is among young adults.”

“We know many Louisianans are doing the right thing – and we thank them for it. As the Governor said yesterday, this is a deadly, highly contagious virus. It does not take many of us slipping up to spread quickly,” said Dr. Courtney Phillips, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.  “Just because we are in Phase 2 does not mean there is no risk involved when we go out in public,” he said.

As more businesses open and more people leave their homes, it is more important now than ever to protect ourselves and others by masking up and staying 6 feet apart,” said Kimberly Robinson, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue. “If you are walking into a business and you see others who are not wearing masks, you should walk right back out. From the person who collects the state’s money, I’m telling you to let your wallet talk.”

Natchitoches Parish President Arrested

Natchitoches Police arrested two individuals for Simple Battery that occurred at Maglieaux’s on the Cane.  The Natchitoches Police Department has arrested John Richmond (W/M, 54 y.o.a. of Natchitoches) and Bradley Haigler (W/M, 35 y.o.a. of Natchitoches) for simple battery.

On May 15, 2020 around 9:19 p.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department were dispatched to 805 Washington Street (Maglieaux’s on the Cane) in reference to a disturbance. As officers arrived to Maglieaux’s on the Cane they made contact with, John Richmond, who told them that two of his employees got into a physical altercation. John Richmond also said to officers that while trying to break up the disturbance he sustained several minor injuries.

After an extensive investigation Detectives with the Natchitoches Police Department were able to obtain video surveillance of this incident.

John Richmond and Bradley Haigler were arrested for Simple Battery and were given a Natchitoches City Court date of September 22, 2020 to return.

Mobile Testing Information

Parish OEP Director Shane Hubbard has provided details of the Mobile COVID-19 Testing that will be offered in Red River Parish July 7th through 10th.  Tests will be conducted at the Coushatta Community Center in the Industrial Park.

Here is the testing schedule:

Tuesday 7/7/2020 , 

Wednesday 7/8/2020,

Thursday 7/9/2020 ,

Friday 7/10/2020,

All testing will start at  8:00 am and run through 11:00 am each day. 

Units will provide drive thru testing.  Walk up tests are allowed. Each unit will have a goal of 50 tests per day.  Testing eligibility-18 years old/ Louisiana Resident. (Must have ID, ID is needed to verify age).

Louisiana National Guard will administer the testing with the tests supplied by the Louisiana Department of Health.  There is no cost to members of the public to be tested.

These will be self-tests.  Testing instructions are included in the file below.  It may be downloaded and printed if you desire.

The Saline Slashing Incident

By Brad Dison

In the 1930s, the small village of Saline, Louisiana, had a population numbering around 600 people, mostly farmers and sawmill workers.  Its main claim to fame was its watermelons.  The sandy soil provided the best environment for growing watermelons.  The Saline Truck Growers Association began holding a celebration in the village each July to coincide with the watermelon harvest.  People from all over the region converged at Saline to join in the festivities.  Some reports estimated 8,000 people attended Saline’s second Watermelon Festival.  For a small village of only 600 people to have an influx of several thousand people must have been a sight to see.      

In 1932, Saline’s mayor and vice president of the Saline Truck Growers Association H.E. Sudduth shipped the two largest melons of the season by rail to then presidential nominee Franklin Delano Roosevelt and vice-presidential nominee John Garner.  The melons weighed in at 110 pounds and 90 pounds respectively.  Local farmer Webby Driggers grew the prized 110-pound melon.  A few weeks later, Mayor Sudduth received a letter which stated:

“I have been a long time in writing to thank you for the most delicious watermelon which you sent me some time ago.  Will you please extend to the association my appreciation of their sending me this extraordinary fruit?  We have all enjoyed it, and are regretful that it is gone.  Please also thank Mr. Driggers, and extend to him my congratulations.  Very sincerely yours, Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

All good things must come to an end.  In July, 1933, Saline had a major incident which most people, even those who have lived in and around the small village all of their lives, have forgotten.  Those who have not forgotten the event rarely speak of it.  People arrived for the annual festival on foot, by wagon, by automobile, and by train.  During the celebration, several conspirators pulled knifes at a predetermined time and slashed over 500 unsuspecting victims.  Rather than running away, the crowd gathered closer.  The conspirators slashed into the bodies of their victims and removed their insides.  Let me remind you that this story is true and apologize for its gory nature.  The wild crowd reached for the random bits and pieces of the poor victim’s insides and shoved whatever they could grab into their mouths.  Men, women, and boys and girls of all ages ate the pieces of raw red meat, the heart being the most sought after.     

Sheriff Henderson Jordan, mostly remembered as a member of the posse which two years later ended the crime spree of Bonnie and Clyde, compared the slashing affray to the murders credited to England’s Jack the Ripper.  One eye witness told the sheriff, “It was just slash, slash, slash.  There weren’t many out of the 500 that weren’t hurt.”  By the next morning, no evidence of the murders could be found.  The conspirators disposed of the what remained of the victims’ bodies in an undisclosed location.  Sheriff Jordan and his deputies spoke with several eye witnesses and questioned the conspirators but made no arrests.

Although watermelons have remained a staple crop from the area around the small village of Saline, the 1933 watermelon festival was the last of its kind held for fifty years.  Five decades later, after many of the citizens who were present at the slashing had died, citizens of Saline revived the watermelon festival with moderate success.  Without most of them knowing it, festival goers celebrate each year the slashing that occurred in the small village on that hot July day in 1933.  If you visit the village during the festival, you will see all sorts of depictions of the slashing victims including signs, t-shirts, face paintings, and other paraphernalia.  The slashing victims were watermelons.   


The Shreveport Journal, July 29, 1932, p.14.

The Shreveport Times, July 29, 1932, p.2.

The Shreveport Journal, August 19, 1932, p.3.

The Shreveport Times, July 4, 1933, p.4.